Lexington Co. firefighters trained in using narcan to reverse opioid overdoses

The firefighters received training from EMS as part of a statewide initiative run by DHEC

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WOLO) —Lexington County firefighters are doing their part to combat the opioid crisis.

All of the firefighters on staff went through a special training program teaching them to administer narcan if someone is in the midst of an overdose.

After a year in which Lexington County EMS used the anti-opioid agent narcan on 223 calls, Lexington County Fire Chief Mark Davis said his team had to learn a new skill to save more lives.

“In a majority of those times, especially in the outlying areas of the county, Fire Services are the first people on scene. So it’s important that we carry this life-saving drug because the quicker you can implement it at a medical event, the better the outcome,” Chief Davis said.

The firefighters learned how to administer narcan from their counterparts at Lexington County Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The training was part of a statewide initiative overseen by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

“They can restore respiration to these patients at a moment’s notice. Even if the first dosage doesn’t work, all the engines carry two doses, so they can actually measure two doses before EMS even arrives on scene,” said Deputy Chief Magen Hallman, who oversees the Training Division for Lexington County EMS.

Lexington County was able to train their firefighters through a grant as part of the statewide reduce the opioid loss of life (ROLL) initiative.

By giving his firefighters a weapon that could reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, Chief Davis says this allows his team to help more people in the county.

“Anything we can do to support our citizens or the visitors to our county, especially when we know there’s an epidemic, anything we can do as a fire service to help our community, that’s our goal,” Chief Davis said. 

According to DHEC, Lexington County Fire Services is one of several fire departments across the state who learned how to apply the anti-opioid agent through law enforcement officer narcan (LEON) training. DHEC says the goal of LEON is to provide law enforcement training to help them identify, treat, and report drug overdoses attributed to opioids.

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